Quality of Workmanship Overload
You have gotten an inspection report on your new construction, and for many the information can be overwhelming. Although we work hard to ensure your report is readable and understandable there is no avoiding the fact that the information is technical and can be difficult for clients to absorb in the short time often allotted by builders. What do you do with the information now? We think that is a good question to ask, and one that we get frequently so we thought we would address that here.
Review Your Report in A Single Pass
Read through the entire report information even if you don’t completely understand all of it. Make notes on what items you clearly understand and those that you clearly do not. Highlight items in the report or create a list for those items that concern you or which you do not fully understand. For those items you do not understand contact our office and set a time to discuss your list with your inspector or email your inspector directly. Don’t hesitate to contact our office because we are your resource to understanding this information and we are glad to discuss it with you to help you use it. While we cannot always review an entire report without consideration for the additional time, we will do our best to provide you with additional clarity. Providing a list of concerns via email will allow us to either respond via email or call you with the information you need to make an informed decision.
Once you feel you have a good understanding of items in the report, prioritize the items according to your concerns. While we try to identify items of most significant concern in the beginning of a quality of workmanship report there may be items of concern to you that were not listed in that section of the report. While you can generate your own categories to meet your needs a suggestion is:
- Life Safety- Items that are an immediate hazard.
- Structural Performance Issues – Abnormal floor slopes, evidences of sags in the structure, evidence of improperly configured structure or supports are general examples.
- Building Performance Concerns – Concerns such as existing or potential water entry or those that may affect immediate or future performance or health.
- Cosmetic Concerns – These are items such as finish work irregularities.
Finish Work is Subjective
While we try to be thorough during our inspections, we cannot identify every defect in finish or every irregularity that may exist. Finish work is often subjective. You will probably be spending much more time on site, and because the quality and appearance of finishes is subjective based upon value and other factors, you may identify irregularities in the building that are of concern to you which are not identified in your report. Be sure to include those in your list of concerns to your builder.
Work with Your Builder
Our goal is to help you understand the apparent quality of construction of your building and to help you become informed to best work with your builder. Discuss each of your concerns with your builder or contractor. Chances are they will address them in some way. This may include providing you with additional information, agreeing to correct the item to a “good and workmanship” standard, or indicating they cannot improve the condition further and explaining why. If you have questions or need guidance on such explanations keep notes or request a written response on items of concern and contact our office. If we can provide additional clarity, we will.
Review of Repairs After Inspection
In most cases when we are performing a Quality of Workmanship Inspection our clients do not own the building we are inspecting, and we are not consulting for the builder. This prevents us from providing re-inspection to review many types of repairs. There are legal issues related to circumventing the engineer or record’s designs for construction or accepting responsibility for the adequacy of repairs we did not design. Additionally, we often cannot determine how a repair was implemented, and perhaps only that some type of repair was performed. As a result, we typically do not provide reinspection or reassessment of repairs by a builder as a normal part of our agreement to complete a quality of workmanship inspection after the report is issued. Where there are structural concerns or issues related to the need for engineering oversight the builder should provide ample documentation of repair with a letter of acceptance specifically discussing the issue signed and sealed by the engineer of record for the project. The engineer of record is typically defined as the engineer who is responsible for the design or configuration of the building. In order to best serve our clients’ reinspection if our clients can obtain original plans, specifications for repair, or other necessary documentation to allow us to inspect to compliance we may be able to assist. Reinspection is only agreed upon on a case by case basis so that we can ensure our clients understand our limitations. Contact our office for further information if you wish to have a follow-up inspection and we can discuss it.
Remember Your Warranty
Most builders provide a full one year warranty. Consider having your building inspected after you take ownership within the first year during the full warranty period. Often, we find problems that were not corrected after the initial purchase inspection or indications of other problems that can be repaired under the builder’s warranty.